Councillors give outline approval for Coast Road housing proposal

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Councillors have given outline planning permission for a residential development at a site on the seaward side of the Coast Road, outside Larne.

Planners had recommended approval of the application, subject to relevant attached planning conditions, by Leonard Swann & Sons, which also includes demolition of the existing dwelling at 15 Coast Road, which is situated below road level.

Planner Denise Kerr explained to the committee that an outline application centres on the principle of the proposed development.

She said that 12 objections had been received, but that the Department felt these had been addressed, and recommended approval of the application.

Addressing the committee in support of the application, David Swann said that while the site was close to an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) “it doesn’t touch it in any way” and said some 50 people could be employed in the construction of the development, providing a boost to the local economy.

In response to queries from Cllr Paul Reid, Denise Kerr reminded the gathering: “All we are looking at is whether the principle of residential development is acceptable.”

And, she said that the onus was on the applicant at the Reserved Matters stage “to demonstrate he can create a quality residential development”.

Councillors also heard that while the original proposal was for apartments, the application had been amended and at the current stage was described as simply “residential development”.

Cllr Billy Henry urged that a site meeting be held prior to any decision being taken, however his proposal, which found a seconder in Cllr Lindsay Millar, was lost by two votes to six, with one abstention.

The committee went on to support the proposal of Cllr Stephen Nicholl by a majority of six votes to three that they accept the recommendation to approve the outline application, subject to attached conditions.

Larne Borough Council, which ceased operations in March, had a policy opposing development on the shore side of the Coast Road, but it had no say in planning decisions.